Monday, 17 June 2013

Book Review-Pantomime by Laura Lam

Title: Pantomime
 Author: Laura Lam
Series:  Pantomime #1
Warnings: attempted rape, domestic abuse, violence
Source: netgalley
Other info: This is Laura’s debut. There’ll be a sequel, Shadowplay
Summary : R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
Review: Iphigenia Laurus, aka Gene, is a girl from a noble family. Micah Gray is a boy who runs away to join the circus. In a world surrounded by mysterious penglass, and having to hide from those looking for them, they discover that they have something in their blood that could change their world.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this. It must be said that I wasn’t expecting this though!
From the beginning, you’re pulled fully into the magical atmosphere of the circus. The genre is kind of fantasy but light on the fantasy, steampunky but without the steam. I’d say... faerie punk? But without the faeries. But anyway. It’s a genre without a name and I love this kind of world.
Our main character. So much love!! In the first very short chapter, you see their (I use they as a singular, non-gendered pronoun) rebellious side, refusing to get down after climbing the heights of the circus (which they weren’t meant to do) and refusing to get down and then jumping.  Throughout, Micah struggles with intersexuality and bisexuality. It’s all handled really sensitively, going through a lot of questioning, questions about what their body makes them, what gender they present as,  figuring out their place and their identity. Micah/Gene’s full story is revealed slowly in the form of flashback.
The whole cast of Pantomime is varied and original. Generally, I preferred the circus crew, they’re more full and have better backstories, but those from their life as Gene were also interesting, sticking to formalities mainly and giving Gene a place to break out from.
The romance was a nice side story. I’m fully on the MicahxAenea ship, because the adorableness. Drystan is an awesome character too, and the ending to this subplot was a satisfying one, if a bit... [cannot say due to possibly spoiling]. Totally, fully in love with all three characters involved in this love triangle..
The plot is  very very character driven. The whole Penglass thing that is drawn attention to in the blurb doesn’t come into it very much, a couple of times during the main book and a bit more at the end. There’s subplots in the relationship between Frit and Bil, and Arik choosing a new direction, and  Gene’s parents getting them to go through a procedure to make them one gender.
Gender identity and sexuality are treated as two separate things (huzzah!) and this book addresses a lot of question anyone who may be struggling with these things may be wondering.  I’m not entirely sure how I feel about intersexuality and to a lesser extent bisexuality being treated as a twist. In plot terms, it makes sense, because Micah/Gene’s parents want them back and they want to not be sent back to be forced to become one gender. In terms of real life implications, it’s different.  In terms of getting readership it may work to attract those who would be put off a book that features a MC not tied down by the gender binary. But it also makes it seem like it’s something that should be hidden. And it isn’t. The thing about Pantomime is that it’s a gentle plotline and a  fantasy thing,  and intersex is just something that the main character is and the story is more than that. This is more a comment on the blurb of this book.
The writing is absolutely beautiful. It’s descriptive and full and carries the tone of Pantomime perfectly.
The ending. The drama picks up for the end of it, adding in more action. There’s a bit of violence, and then something happens that just left me in shock for a bit of time. Laura is firmly on the list of evil evil writers that I am in love with. It then moves on further, leading to a cliffhanger.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a magically written story covering lots of different things.  Can’t wait for Shadowplay.

Links: Amazon | | Goodreads | Author website


  1. I've been interested in this book for a while now. This review just confirms how badly I need to read it. Great review!

  2. Loved this book so much! I'm glad you did too.

  3. Wow, this seems like such a different book! I'm loving how it really tackles something different- and it does it well. I'm more of a person who prefers plot, but I do enjoy sitting down with a character-driven like this one at times. I'm going to have to check this one out! The author definitely seems like a great writer (and apparently, is evil as well with that ending! ;)).

    Great review, Nina! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  4. I really like the sound of this, great to hear you loved it! I will for sure be adding this book to my list to read. :)

    Ann@Blogging E-books


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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